Fort Rodman

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Fort Rodman (1857-1867) (1898-1947) - An Endicott Period Coastal Fort first established in 1898 in Bristol County, Massachusetts on the site of previous fortifications, Fort Taber and Fort at Clark's Point. Named in G.O. 106, 23 Jul 1898, after Lieutenant Colonel William Logan Rodman, 38th Regiment Massachusetts Volunteer Infantry, who was killed in action during the U.S. Civil War at Port Hudson, Louisiana, 27 May 1863. Post declared surplus in 1947.

Fort Rodman, 1902 Captains Quarters
Fort Rodman, 1903 Admin Building
Old Fort Rodman

Third System (1857-1867)

The initial purchase of land for the Fort at Clark's Point came 24 Sep 1857 by deed from Butlet H. Bixby for $78,000. Construction began soon after on a three tiered stone fort (later changed to, two casemated tiers with a Barbette tier).

U.S. Civil War (1861-1865)

Work on the stone fort continued through the U.S. Civil War but was not far enough along at the beginning of the war to provide protection from Confederate raiders. The city provided temporary earthworks west of the stone fort and named it Fort Taber after the city Mayor Issac C. Taber. The temporary fort was armed with cannons and a volunteer force. The earthworks remained active from 1861 to 1863 until the stone fort was complete enough to assume guard duty. The stone fort came to be known as Fort Taber after the earthworks fort was abandoned but was never formally given that name. During the U.S. Civil War construction was supervised by Captain Henry M. Robert who would become known for his "Robert's Rules of Order". Robert was eventually promoted to Brigadier General and became Chief of Engineers. Construction continued until 1867 when funding was withdrawn. The stone fort was never actually completed.

Endicott Period (1890-1910)

Part of the Harbor Defense of New Bedford.

Fort Rodman 1906 Post Exchange - Still Exists

Endicott Period gun battery construction began in 1898 with the two 8" batteries, Battery Walcott and Battery Barton. Both of these batteries were completed and accepted for service in 1899. The three smaller caliber batteries were all accepted for service in 1902. All five of these batteries were stand-alone structures and none were inside the old stone fort.

The new Endicott Period post was designed as a compact, single company, open plan post around a rectangular parade. All of the buildings were outside the walls of the old stone fort. Four sets of officer quarters on the east side of the parade faced the single 109 man barracks on the west side of the parade. The hospital and the hospital stewards quarters were also on the west side of the parade. The administration building and NCO quarters were at the south end. Construction of the majority of the post began in 1901 and continued through 1906. By the end of 1906 all of the necessary buildings were complete.

Fort Rodman Endicott Period Batteries (edit list)
Battery
Click on Battery links below
No. Caliber Type Mount Service Years Battery Cost Notes
Battery Walcott 1 8" Disappearing 1898-1899-1899-1942 $ 51,813
Battery Barton 1 8" Disappearing 1898-1899-1899-1942 $ 51,813
Battery Cross 2 5" Pedestal 1902-1920 $ 11,611
Battery Craig 2 3" Masking Parapet 1902-1920 $ 9,150
Battery Gaston 2 3" Masking Parapet 1902-1920 $ 9,150
Source: CDSG
Fort Rodman Plan 1921


World War I (1917-1918)

Both the guns of Battery Cross were installed on the Army Transport Ship Kilpatrick sometime in 1917. This transport ship was used to transport troops from Boston to Europe. The guns were returned in 1919 but were removed for good in 1920. The guns of Battery Battery Craig and Battery Gaston were removed as a part of the 1920 disarmament program and the carriages were scrapped. By the end of 1920, only Battery Walcott and Battery Barton remained armed. In 1921 the 12" Battery Milliken was completed and accepted for service.

The Fort Rodman garrison expanded during World War I with a number of temporary WWI buildings built on the southern end of the parade. The temporary buildings can be seen on the 1921 plan of the post along a diagonal road across the parade. By the 1935 plan all of these temporary buildings have been removed and the post has been restored to its prewar state.

Fort Rodman World War I Batteries (edit list)
Battery
Click on Battery links below
No. Caliber Type Mount Service Years Battery Cost Notes
Battery Milliken 2 12" Barbette 1917-1921-1921-1946 $ 326,617
Source: CDSG

World War II (1941-1945)

In 1940, before the start of World War II, it was recognized that virtually all of the disappearing gun batteries were obsolete and an upgrade program was begun to replace them with more modern long range and rapid fire guns. Battery Milliken was selected to be upgraded by adding casemates to protect the 12" guns that were originally emplaced in open gun pits. This project was not completed until late in the war, long after the threat was over. Late in 1942, the two 8" disappearing gun batteries, Battery Barton and Battery Walcott, were deactivated and their guns were removed and carriages scrapped. Protection for the harbor moved out beyond Fort Rodman with a number of large caliber long range guns pointed seaward and a number of smaller 6" and 90mm guns guarding the harbor approaches from dispersed locations. Fort Rodman became a training and support facility

The garrison expanded significantly between 30 Jun 1940 and 30 Jun 1941, adding 15 temporary 63 man barracks and support facilities for them. The post capacity was raised from 4 officers and 109 enlisted men to 44 officers and 1054 enlisted men.

Fort Rodman World War II Batteries (edit list)
Battery
Click on Battery links below
No. Caliber Type Mount Service Years Battery Cost Notes
Battery 210 2 6" Shielded Barbette (SBC) 1943-1945-1945-1947 $ ? Mishaum Point MR
Battery AMTB 931 2
2
90mm
90mm
Fixed AMTB
Mobile M1A1
1943-1943-1943-1946 $ ? Barney's Joy Point
Battery AMTB 932 2
2
90mm
90mm
Fixed AMTB
Mobile M1A1
1943-1943-1943-1946 $ ? Cuttyhunk Island
Battery AMTB 933 2
2
90mm
90mm
Fixed AMTB
Mobile M1A1
1943-1943-1943-1946 $ ? Nashawena Island
Battery AMTB 934 2
2
90mm
90mm
Fixed AMTB
Mobile M1A1
1943-1943-1943-1946 $ ? Butler's Point
Battery 155 - Fort Rodman 2 155mm Mobile on
Panama Mounts
1938-1945 $ ?
Battery 155 - Mishaum Point 2 155mm Mobile on
Panama Mounts
943-1945 $ ? Mishaum Point MR
Battery 155 - Butler Point 2 155mm Mobile on
Panama Mounts
1942-1943 $ ? Butler Point
Source: CDSG

Current Status

Part of Fort Taber City Park, Bristol County, Massachusetts. The old fort is closed to the public but the batteries can be viewed and there are three original buildings still left. The PX building remains but it is moved from its original location.

Location: Fort Tabor Park, Bristol County, Massachusetts.

Maps & Images

Lat: 41.592923 Long: -70.901417

Sources:

  • Roberts, Robert B., Encyclopedia of Historic Forts: The Military, Pioneer, and Trading Posts of the United States, Macmillan, New York, 1988, 10th printing, ISBN 0-02-926880-X, page 409
  • Weaver, John R. II, A Legacy in Brick and Stone: America Coastal Defense Forts of the Third System, Redoubt Press, McLean, 2001, First Printing, ISBN 1-57510-069-X, page 92-94
  • U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, FUDS Archives Search Report, Findings, Fort Rodman, Project No. D01MA051303, March 1996. Large PDF Download
  • U.S.Army, Supplement to the Harbor Defense Project of New Bedford, (CC-SUP-NEWB-43), 1 Feb 1945, CDSG

Links:

Visited: 19 May 2012

Fort Rodman Picture Gallery

Click on the picture to see a larger version. Contribute additional pictures - the more the better!

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